Rich And Denise Heinrich’s 2017 Annual Christmas Letter

What a year! Adventures galore. Stranger things. Where do I start?

Early in the new year, Rich and I found ourselves setting up a refugee camp for excommunicated White House employees. They sought protection, a place of rest and or safety. Displaced persons who fled presidential persecution, harassment or bad treatment for secret meetings with Russians, use of private jets, being too far alt-right, an expletive-ridden phone conversation, in-fighting, the Russian probe,  and beliefs that differed from those of the orange hair persecutor. Or because they didn’t adore the Mango Mussolini with unyielding loyalty no matter what.They wanted to get as far away from Washington as possible but California was too liberal. Humanitarian aid in the urban fringe of Scottsdale, Az.. Our job is to reinforce a sense of civil society. Everyone seems to get along other than arguing with Sean as to what the news of the day really is. The neighbors hope it won’t become a permanent city camp.

It is a small camp. Twenty-two blue tarp shelters around our pool in the backyard. The maze of walkways through the tents is tight. If you spread your arms out, you touch tents on both sides. Our gas barbecue (which also has burners) became the communal kitchen with ice chests everywhere. During the winter months of December and January, hose showers (after the hose heated up in the sun) became the norm. In the warmer months, the pool became the bathhouse.

Like sentries, blue porta-potties guard the back fence. It didn’t take long for political graffiti to appear everywhere. And posters of martyrs lost in battle. Quite the diaspora! Not all refugee camps are equal.

There is high unemployment in this camp. We can only offer two jobs. That of pool boy and tree trimmer of our two palm trees and two fruit trees. Others are forced to become seasonal day laborers picking cotton and fruit. Our collective minivan is their transport. Others reluctantly become Democratic pollsters. Since we only have two Democratic families in the neighborhood, additional transport and security are required. Some of the refugees do receive money from their relatives.

Security is tight. Strict access controls included constant surveillance, required permits to enter and three guard cats. The political background of all visitors is highly scrutinized.

A few refugees have left to live with families elsewhere. Their blue tarp domains were immediately filled with others. In fact, we have a waiting list. Some seek permanent asylum.

We will keep you updated. Donations of any kind are most welcome. Tis the season!

As if the above was not enough to deal with, one of our beloved cats, Babbaluche, joined a cat cult in April! He has always been unsure of himself and has an insatiable appetite for love and attention. If he wasn’t following me around all day like a lost soul, he was sitting four feet away just staring at me. We did our best to be good parents.

Well, then the strange behavior started. He’d leave the house during the day for hours at a time. When asked where he went, he’d just mumble meow some discombobulated story that never, ever made any sense. I never pursued it. You know how teenage cats can be… Then he withdrew even more. From us and his cat brothers. He’d disappear for longer periods including the nighttime. We thought maybe he had a girlfriend. Or had taken up with some unsavory characters in the neighborhood. And then, out of concern, a friend ratted him out. The skullduggery was a cult! We were dumbfounded. A mountain of anguish buried us. Where did we go wrong?  Did we have too many houseguests? Was he not happy with the litter box? Not enough kibbles?

Proper parents would have seen the signs. Cause for concern. Babbaluche had been acting differently. He had started meditating, collected money for bogus charities, had a me-versus-them (us) attitude and displayed reprehensible behavior at times. Like pooping on the bedspread in our guestroom. He never did this before joining the cult. His conversations and mannerisms had become stilted and seemingly programmed. And he quit socializing with his friends Paco and Taco who live directly behind us.

Babbaluche’s family and friends were rallied for an intervention in June. It did not go well. He’d already been brainwashed by the leaders of the cult. Our little boy had no tolerance for questions or critical inquiry. He has an unreasonable fear about the outside world. Impending CATastrophe, evil conspiracies, and persecutions. None of us can convince him to leave the cult. He is extremely obsessed with it and its leaders. Only the leader can provide truth, validation, problem-solving, and solutions. If we dare to question or criticize the leader, it’s persecution.

Rich and I are so sorry to bring this news to you in what is supposed to be a joyful Christmas letter. Right now, our efforts are at a standstill. Professional guidance is being sought to save our boy. We will keep you all posted.

Now for some exciting, good family news. Motorsports to the moon! A precursor to space tourism. Competitors in this emerging market include Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin. In September, Rich went on a road rally to the moon. A rally with no roads….just craters. An extreme offroad rally with only twelve cars. His boss sponsored him and Elon Musk sponsored the rally. The cars and drivers were transported there by Elon’s private spaceflight company Space X Rockets. Health and fitness tests along with training were required. He prepared by playing the Driver Lunar Rover 4 Offroad Game. And by driving up rocky, dry riverbeds here in his modified Bugeye Sprite Lunar Rover.

According to Rich, there were obstacles to overcome besides craters. With less gravity there, the drivers were forced to go slower as bumps in the terrain wreaked havoc. A rollover was not just a rollover. The driver rolled over and over nonstop until something brought the car to a stop. Like being in a dryer. The lack of streets and street signs made navigation a real challenge. GPS was spotty unless you faced the earth to pick up the satellites. Rich claims that toward the end of the rally, most drivers had improved their skills enough to jump over the craters. The next intergalactic rally, Cars To Mars, will be in 2022. Rich is already designing the over and over and over rover rollover rover!

Since September, things have been pretty quiet. I enjoyed some small accomplishments which included cooking thirty-minute brownies in twenty minutes, memorizing the history of man, reading Anna Karina, Moby Dick and the Bible in one day and still had time to paint the entire house that evening. I also discovered the meaning of life but I forgot to write it down.

The magic of Christmas never ends and its greatest gifts are family and friends. Much love to you all!!!

Me And My Potbelly


Ferm Big pink Vietnamese pot bellied pig.

Ferm Big pink Vietnamese pot-bellied pig.

Pig Perfect

We’re best friends. Like we have a choice. We go everywhere together. I’m not talking about the actual Vietnamese pot belly pig…the one everyone HAD to have as a pet…until they became pigs on steroids at 250 pounds! Boy, did they get duped. Now we have pig sanctuaries where being obese is acceptable. They will be loved once again. Maybe we should apply that concept to obese humans. We could have housing developments called Sanctuary Manor (or is Waddle Woods better?) with street names like Stout St., Plump Place, Marshmallow Lane, Corpulent Circle, Portly Road, Roly-poly Roundabout and a golf course named Tubby Turf. Obese people could live in peace…just like the pigs.

Declaration Of War

Ok, back to that thing that protrudes from my abdominal region. I’ve declared war on it. Why? Well, for one thing, I can’t suck it in….ever. I can’t hide it. Can’t run away from it. I’m too old to look pregnant. It can’t be de-friended. It’s like having someone you despise in your face…all day…every day. No more slow-dancing check to cheek. It’s pot to pot now. I’m all bound up in my clothes.

Everybody has a six-pack. Unfortunately, for some of us, it is covered up by layers of fat. Exercise alone won’t do it. Even a zillion ab rollers and sit-ups. You have to also lose weight to lose the fat. Period. Oh boy…this is gonna be tough.

The Beloved Enemy

wine-bottles-1180187__180In my case: red wine. Period. Why is that you might ask. It’s happy hour vs. hefty hour. If you’re a moderate drinker (some define as one drink per day….say what?), no worries. In fact, it even gets better with age. Older people who drink one drink per day gain less weight than those who never drank. But this is what happens if you’re not moderate. Alcohol temporarily keeps your body from burning fat because your body can’t store calories from empty-791573__180alcohol for later (like it does with food calories). Drinking pauses your metabolism, shoves food calories over and says break down the alcohol calories first. Therefore, what you recently ate gets stored as fat. In pot belly terms: alcohol decreases fat burn in the belly. Maybe I should just go live with the fat and friendly people at Waddle Woods. No, I will go to battle.

 Rules On The Battlefield:

  • Rule # 1: always eat when you drink. Why? Cocktails = simple carbs. Blood sugar soars. Then you crash. And then you are ravenous. Nibble on foods with long-lasting energy like protein, fiber, and healthy fat. This stabilizes your blood sugar without slowing metabolism.
  • Rule #2: Drink simple drinks. Some drinks make you hungrier. The simpler, the better. Like vodka and club soda. No calories with the club soda.
  • Rule #3: Stick to one or two drinks. This challenge will be like climbing out of the Grand Canyon. Wish me luck and divine intervention.
  • Rule # 4: Beware of gnawing, starving feeling the next day.Dehydration makes you hungry. Water before food!

If you still have that rumble in your belly, greasy food will help settle it. What’s the greasiest item on your menu? Also helpful is to drink one glass of water with each drink. I keep trying this but the next day I find the water carafe full with drowned bugs. They drank more water than I did.

Beat The Belly Fat

Other beat the belly fat helpful hints from Hell-oise: no sugar or fructose. Eat more protein like meat, yogurt, milk, cheese, beans and eggs. Nuts, seeds, avacadoes, olive oil and fatty fish should also be on your plate. Never eat bananas! Don’t know what’s up with that. They are the ugly ducklings. I wonder if fake banana flavor is ok…like banana gelato, banana cookies, banana daiquiris…bananaramabojama…wasn’t that a song? But other fruits are the beauty queens. Eat them. Cut the carbs. Ouch. That will hurt like hemorrhoids. No pasta, no potatoes, no rice…maybe I will just surrender. Give up the battle. Don’t listen to me if you are going to war.

To Meme Or Not To Meme

Is everyone burned out with the Christmas crunch? Just a reminder: Christmas is THIS Sunday. Shocking, isn’t it? Just in case you have no idea what day it is today. Or was yesterday. Or any day since the season started. When was that? October 1st? The last few weeks are like a blur. Baby, it’s blurry outside.

images-22Every year, I have two goals. To buy twenty- six of the same item and be done with Christmas shopping. The other is to have this done by the day before Thanksgiving. Both are announced as proclamations. Both continue to be fantasies. Another fantasy (on the bucket list) is to announce to everyone that I’m not doing Christmas this year because, instead, on Christmas morning, I will board a plane for a faraway place. Would this be a Scrooge on the outside and a squanderer on the inside? Hey…a new word: squandescrooge. Sounds better than cheap, ungenerous, miserly, spending foolishly or wastefully. On travel. Or Christmas? Back to the point of this post.

images-15Take a much-needed timeout for your burnout and put your first name and the word meme into google search. Collins Concise English Dictionary defines meme as: “an idea or element of social behavior passed on through generations in a culture, especially by imitation.” To pronounce meme, say meem with a long e sound. It rhymes with beam or team. You can easily create your own memes from phone photos using this app: MeMatic. Have fun!


Loud Meow. Feed Me Now!


A cathouse…but not THAT kind of cathouse.

Three cats live in my house: Beajoulais (black, gray & white), Babbaluche (orange tabby) and Bogie (black tabby). Conversations abound.

I insulted Babbaluche today. I told him, “Your hairball looks like Donald Trump’s hair.” He didn’t respond. But he did give me a dirty look.

Me to Beajoulais: “Why did you just puke into your water bowl?”

Beajoulais: “Um…it’s time to change the water?” “Better than a “landmine” on the rug?”

img_0811Babbaluche was tapping me in the middle of the night. Sleepily, I said, “What do you want?”

He replied, “Scratch me to sleep.” Like I have a choice. He will keep tapping until I respond to his liking.

My sarcastic response was, “I’m here to serve you. Your wish is my command. 24/7. I know who the boss is here.” Then he licked me with that sandpaper tongue and I melted. Maybe I ,too, crave attention. Like a Kardashian. Was that a CAT*call?

Bogie cat*er*wauling down the hall in the middle of the night, “I’m so lonely.”

“Bogie” I called out. “Come on little guy.”

His response, “Here I am,” as he CAT*a*pults onto my chest with a thud.

Beajoulais has a bad habit of spraying in the same spots, over and over, to mark his territory. I spray a no-mark concoction, over and over, to no avail.

It’s our You spray, I spray game. Nobody wins. I told him, “Beajoulais, I’m gonna stick a cork in you!”

img_1467-1Beajoulais replied, “Land mines are in your future.”  CAT*a*clys*mic event that would be.

Now if that didn’t gross you out, try this: when you’re loving your cat up, they’re so into it that they forget to swallow and therefore, drool. We have three droolers saying, “I love this!” The toothless Babbaluche takes it further. He gums anything and everything in sight…including himself. We have one rule: no gumming the girls, a.k.a. ta tas.

We just replaced our sliding door with French doors. No big deal in our world. In their world, CAT*a*stroph*ic! All three of them asked, “What have you done to my life?” The original opening door was moved 2 feet to the right. It might as well have been 2 miles. All of them go to the original door site to be let out. Instead of the door, there is now a screen there. And there they wait, and wait, and wait to go out. It took three days of working with each one to re-program them. And we thought we were the creatures of habit!

Babbaluche gave me a scowling meow with a wrinkling of his nose. Interpretation: this food sucks. Finicky feline.

“Try this you little-spoiled varmint.” He asks for food dozens of times a day with a commanding meow. What’s a mother to do?

img_4950Two of the three cats go to bed with us every night. At about 8 p.m., Babbaluche will stare at me asking, “Isn’t it time to go to bed?”

I reply, “No Bob…not yet. I’m sorry.” And then he goes to bed and enters a CAT*a*tonic state. I fight for my space. Cats sleep more than any other mammal, up to sixteen hours a day. If you have more than one cat, you need a king size bed.

Beajoulais climbs into bed telling hubby, “Let’s snug and you can scratch my belly. I will purr you to sleep if you do.” And he does. Both are blissfully happy.

Quite often, these three are CAT*te*gorical in their demands. Cat*naps, food and attention are high on their list. All of them are love “sluts”. Beajoulais will stand on the computer keyboard facing you until his needs are met. Babbaluche will follow me around all day long, like a lost soul, looking for love. Even when I’m showering. I’m not going to describe his behavior with my underwear on the floor. It’s embarrassing! Bogie will give you this come hither look as he wiggles around, hoping I will brush him. After awhile, he ricocheted off the wall and is off to another adventure. He’s the incorrigible teenager. The best bumper sticker I ever saw was: I’m the mother of a teenager. Now I understand why some species eat their young.

img_4065Cats have no morals. They will sleep with anybody and kill anything. Thank goodness all my boys are fixed. I think they’re sweeter not having to think about sex all the time. Too bad we can’t neutralize the killing instinct. During a fancy dinner party, Bogie pranced up to the arcadia window directly in front of the dining table and proudly deposits a dead rat for all the guests to see. I don’t know what was more embarrassing: that it was a rat or that it was dead. Bogie sat there waiting for praise for this gift. He was disappointed. I was mortified.

Beajoulais displays Wild Kitty Kingdom the best. He will race down the hall, circle the entire living room like it is a Grand Prix motor race course and then he goes all-terrain climbing the mountains of kitty condos we have…eight to be exact. And then he might repeat the course. Cats can run up to thirty-one miles per hour. I know cats get bored easily. They ARE one of the most intelligent animals on the planet. And they may have pent-up energy. But sometimes, I wonder if there is something wrong with that cat.

The Huffington Post says that cat owners, a.k.a. cat people share a lot of the same personality traits as cats. Supposedly, we are introverted, smarter, more sensitive and more non-conformist. Forget counseling. I feel better about myself already!

You know what they say about cat people. We’re always gushing disgusting cutesy stuff about our furry felines. Well, guess what? Here’s your platform. I want to hear your stories. Maybe I will CAT*a*log them. Or let the cat out of the bag. It could be the CAT*a*lyst that we need. Let’s talk!